Hey Ross, where ya from?

I was born in Laguna Beach, California, before the family moved to Australia and eventually settled in Mona Vale. I’ve been living back and forth between the USA and Mona ever since.

When did you decide you might want to become a chef?

I was working in the building industry and that kinda sucked. I always like the creative process when cooking so I took a job at a mates restaurant. I loved it and then moved back to the USA to pursue cooking as a career.

 Where have you worked?

I've worked in a bunch of kitchens over the years but recently did a stint at the High West Whiskey Distillery in Park City, Utah. They had a venue called the Nelson Cottage, a small historic miners cottage in the mountains converted to a restaurant. I was there for a few years and then when I moved back to Australia I took a job helping some friends start their restaurant Sir Duncan in Newport. I was there for two years before starting at Shortees. The kitchen wasn’t built when I started at Shortees so it’s been a fun process going from a concrete slab to a fully functioning and efficiently set up kitchen.

 Which chef do you most admire?

I feel like all of Anthony Bourdain's shows and books were an influence on me in one way or another. But I really feel the cooks and chefs I have met, worked and collaborated with over the years are the ones I look up to most and helped me get to where I am.

What is your favourite food? 

Vietnamese, Thai food, Japanese… actually pretty much any Asian cuisine. My favourite food is probably Banh Mi, I could eat one or two or more at any time of the day.

 What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten?

Damn… that’s a hard question to answer. Hmmm… probably any meal I get to have with my family, friends or girlfriend. Good food is better when shared with the people you love.

 What kind of music do you listen to when you cook?

It varies depending what mood the kitchen team is in. If you pop your head into the kitchen we could be listening to anything from punk rock, metal, country, hip hop, rock’n’roll, blues, reggae to even pop music.

 How would you describe the food you cook at The Shortees Back Nine Diner?

Classic American diner/bar/pizzeria food with an Asian influence.

 The whole menu is amazing but what dish are you most proud of?

Probably the Shortees Smash Burger. The most simple dishes are also the easiest to fuck up, they have no frills to hide behind. So when it’s simple food done right using good produce and you see people enjoying it… thats very satisfying.

 How often do you get out for a hit at Shortees?

The kitchen team has been trying to make a habit out of playing a couple of holes a few times a week after we finish service and cleaning. Its a good team bonding exercise and also a good way to wind down and blow off some steam after work.



How is your golf game?

Not very good these days. I played a lot of golf growing up. My dad worked at various golf clubs in the USA when he was a teenager, he also worked as a caddy, so we have had clubs lying around the house my whole life. Dad used to take us out of primary school every now and then on a friday afternoon and we would go play nine holes at Palm Beach or other local clubs. I have been enjoying playing and practicing lately so hopefully working at Shortees will help me get my game back on track. 


Good plan. What’s your favourite drink at the bar after a hit at Shortees?

Can’t go past an ice cold beer.


Cheers to that!


February 07, 2024